Job and Career Prospects for Students in the Prob/Stat Math Major
For information on the variety of careers in Probability and
Statistics, click here.
For more information about the Statistics profession, click
For information on what some recent graduates have done, click here.
What are my job prospects when I finish my degree?
- If you go on to get a master's degree in statistics or a related
field, your chances of getting a good job are excellent.
- If you plan to stop with the BS, your prospects are not as good
as if you get a master's degree, but better (other things being equal)
than if you get a regular math major.
What do I need to do to go to graduate school in statistics or a
- Maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0. (Many graduate schools require
- Maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 in your major courses, especially
those in probability and statistics. (Many graduate schools require higher GPA's.)
- Be sure to choose your courses to include challenging ones. Don't
make the mistake of choosing easy courses just to get a good grade --
graduate programs want to see good grades in challenging courses. For
graduate school in statistics, grades in M 362K, M358K, M378K, M 341,
and M 361K are probably the most important ones. Courses such as M 346,
M 348, M 362M,M 374G, and M 375: Mathematical Modeling in Biology would be good choices for major electives.
- Start looking at graduate programs at least a year before you plan
to graduate. You can find information about graduate programs in
statistics here or here.
The careers site (http://www.ma.utexas.edu/users/mks/statund/careers.html)
also has links to some other information about graduate programs in
fields related to statistics.
- Be sure to take the GRE, ask for letters of recommendation, and
apply in plenty of time before the deadlines.
- When asking for letters of recommendation, remember that
from the professors you have had in your upper division courses are the
ones that count most. Sometimes students make the mistake of getting
letters just from professors of lower division courses and employers.
These are not as useful in deciding whether or not to admit a student
to a graduate program. Do not get letters of recommendation from
employers, unless what you have done on the job is relevant to the
graduate program you are applying for. Do not get letters of
recommendations from family friends, clergy, etc. Graduate schools are
looking for letters about your academic qualifications, not character
- Apply to a range of schools, ranging from your dream school to a
reasonable chance to a pretty sure bet.
- Also apply for any financial aid offered. Most students in Ph.D.
programs are offered financial aid. Some master's programs offer more
financial aid than others, so take this into account in deciding where
to apply. Sometimes students can find financial aid after they are at a
graduate school (for example, tutoring), but some students finance at
least part of their master's degree with loans.
What can I do to increase my chances of getting a good job if I
don't go to graduate school?
- Pay attention to your studies so you keep both your overall and
your math GPA high.
- Complement your major with a concentration.
- Complement your major with an internship
or research experience. (Be especially sure to look at UT's Eureka website.)
- Develop your communication skills.
- Visit the Natural Sciences Career Center in W.C. Hogg to obtain
information about jobs, what employers look for, how to write a resume,
I'd like to go to graduate school, but I didn't study hard enough
(or had some non-academic situations that interfered with my studies),
and now my grades are too low to get into graduate school. Is there
anything I can do to still get into graduate school?
- If you had just one or two bad semesters for non-academic
reasons, but had good grades your last year as an undergraduate (or if
you did poorly your first year or two but got all A's and B's your last
two years), some graduate programs will still consider you. Be sure to
explain in your Statement of Purpose or an additional letter what the
extenuating circumstances were. It's also a good idea to mention this
to the professors you have asked for letters of recommendation. Be
aware that your chances of obtaining financial aid will be reduced,
- Try taking additional undergraduate courses as a non-degree
student. Choose challenging courses and do well in them, to prove that
you can do well in tough courses. Then apply to a master's program (one
that is respectable but not top-flight), pointing out in your Statement
of Purpose or an additional letter that you have shown by your
additional courses that you have matured and can do well in challenging
courses. Be sure to ask the professors in the additional courses to
write letters of recommendation for you. This often works.
- There are also some non-degree graduate programs that might
consider someone without the usual grades required for a graduate
degree program, provided the student shows evidence of being mature,
strongly motivated, and willing and able to work harder than they did
as an undergraduate. One such program is the new Certificate in Public Health
offered by the University of Texas School
of Public Health.